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    Agreed – which is why O Globo did nightly research to find out what readers liked, then punted it When something similar was done here it was frustrating to hear all the journalists who believed doing that catered to the marketers (ugh!) or the lowest common denominator, forgetting that editors still had the final say. But at least they had some real market information as well.

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    While my like-named friend is correct in identifying ‘lowest common denominators’ in terms of public tastes and what sells, he may find that the model he speaks to is rapidly changing. There will always be the ‘unwashed masses’ whose collective voice is strong by number, but not by reason, necessarily. So do editors and publishers simply shrug their shoulders and pander? Or do we find a way to entertain while (perhaps almost subliminally) educating in a way that isn’t preachy, condescending or over people’s heads? Surely, at least some of us must strive for the latter – after all, not everyone in society is an ill-educated lout concerned only with placing the winning bet on the rank outsider and retiring on the proceeds. There is a place for considered assessment of what matters and what doesn’t – and the latest starlet’s fall from grace doesn’t, except to fellow airheads, of whom there may well be plenty. The changing global climate (global warming is, by the way, technically accurate but also misleading to many since its main effect is not so much that the weather is generally warmer, but that it is unreliable, with more extreme events happening more frequently in more places), on the other hand, does matter. And to everyone, whether they know it or not, and regardless of their tastes in terms of media consumption. The lowest common denominator cannot, therefore, be the measure of all that is good in the world of media. If it is, we may all as well change our names to Rupert Murdoch and be done with it.

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